Tag Archives: Damp

Sitting room reveal

There were times when we couldn’t see beyond all that needed doing in this room – the old dining room – to turn it into a lovely living space. To be honest, sometimes it was overwhelming to complete novices like us. But here’s the treatment this room got:

  • Full damp proof course
  • Rewiring
  • Replastering
  • New skirting (the old stuff was rotten and full of weevils)
  • New picture rail
  • New carpet and underlay (it now feels like you’re walking on clouds despite the concrete floor)
  • Fireplace renovation
  • New central heating and piping
  • Paint job
  • New blinds and soft furnishings
  • New furniture  (and a few fairly old bits too)
  • A whole lotta love

But it’s been worth it.

Here’s the obligatory before and after:

Before

Before

Edwardian Farrow and ball pigeon blue gray off white pointing

After

A bit different, eh?! Of all the rooms in the house this one probably has the most objects that have stories. So I’ll tell these stories in future posts.

But for now, go on, take a closer look at the room itself. Push the door……..

Farrow and Ball Slipper Satin woodwork

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Bye-bye hideous kitchen. Hello, ‘the something room’.

We were delighted to get home and find this sight greeting us:

Outside oven

How on earth we managed to cook Christmas dinner in this is beyond me…..

That oven had absolutely no place in a proper kitchen and deserved to be put outside, unloved and unwanted by the skip, like the bad, crappy, naughty oven it is.

The overflowing skip indicated that the old kitchen had been ripped out.

The overflowing skip indicated that the old kitchen had been ripped out.

Hooray the kitchen was gone! It was a room where you ALWAYS had to put the light on, even in the middle of a bright sunny day, just to see what you were doing.

Old Kitchen

Darker than the inside of my troubled mind…..

It has also signified the final piece in the puzzle that has been our electrics. It’s a long, boring, story involving a missing earth, a dodgy connection and multiple failed safety inspections. We have had electricians hunting for days to sort out our very weird, illogical electrics and the final problem lay in this ceiling.

It’s now all sorted but because of it the false ceiling also now needs redoing – it was a choice of cutting holes in that or the en-suite floor (being directly above). For obvious reasons, we went with the ceiling. Now the final part of the electrical work will be paying – and we are DREADING the bill. <gulp>

Rip out

The pointless hanging light contraption remained. Almost ironically.

Already this room seems bigger and brighter.

Already this room seems bigger and brighter.

Anyway, we really have very little idea what to ultimately do with this space and loosely call it the ‘utility room’ as that’s the primary function it will serve. Well, actually, it’s main function is that it’s where Lord Humphrey sleeps as his cat tunnel is in there.

Oh, and its other function will be to store the spare freezer. And the new boiler. And some furniture. And paint. And all our booze (hic). So, it’s clear why this room has a bit of an identity crisis.

So, for now, we’re just going to plaster, get the damp proof course finished off and concrete over the floor. Plumb in the washing machine and tumble dryer and that’ll be about it. Well, we may put the dart board up.

This room is way down the list of priorities at the moment and not something we can justify spending cash on so it may remain unloved for a little while. Though not as unloved as the kitchen that used to be in here.

We all know this room swill become known as 'Humphrey's Room'. Why are they fighting it?

We all know this room will become known as ‘Humphrey’s Room’.  Aren’t they all?

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The story so far

We’re a little late to this blog – so this post serves as a whistle-stop catch-up. The story so far, if you like……

We finally moved in (after lots of legal wranglings) in December. The household bear (BooBoo) featured in the day’s pictures texted to family. He refused to go in the removal van and was the first to explore.

The bears weren’t the only ones perturbed by the move:

IMG_1842

Surveying the scene

However we managed to unpack and get straight enough to host family Christmas. Not quite sure how we managed Christmas Dinner with the rubbish oven – but we did and it was a triumph (She says modestly).

Next came our Mexican Fiesta house warming party which, is fair to say, was pretty legendary.

P1020603

Fiesta!

We dressed the house in true Fiesta style, complete with inflatable cactus and a comprehensive cocktail list.

This list was responsible for many a sore head

Chaos ensued but it was a perfect party and even included a graffiti wall – read about on the Disco Loo page.

And then reality kicked in. The boiler had broken before Christmas so we got it serviced and repaired at the same time – at this stage we were offered commiseration by several plumbers as it was an Ideal boiler. Not actually ideal at all.

The heating was, to put it mildly, pretty ineffective which surprised us given the boiler was just 3 years old. In fact, when buying the house we were fairly smug about the fact it wouldn’t need sorting as it was only 3 years old. That’ll teach us.

To cut a very long, tedious story short – it was knackered and apparently far too small to do the job needed for the size of the house; it wasn’t even pushing the hot water upstairs with enough pressure for us to be able to have showers! The radiators were all on 1970s microbore and all needed replacing as well as new radiators adding in.

So, after 4 hideous weeks of no heating (but, thankfully, an immersion so we had hot water) we had a full central heating system put in along with new radiators – the house is also now zoned so we can control upstairs and downstairs separately. Ooooo, fancy! However, this came to the pretty total of £5.5k which was not in The Budget but it’s simply not something we could ignore. Plus, if we’re stripping back and starting again, now was the time to do it.

We also took the opportunity to move the boiler from the current utility room into the current kitchen – as these rooms will be trading places. The poor bugger doing the job discovered we not only had only about 12inches of floor space but also that much of our ground floor is concrete. He said our house actually kept him awake at night because it was so tricky to do. Ooops.

Damp came next – we knew about this as it had been flagged in the survey that the 30 year old damp proof course had failed.

Cue lots of different tradesman, conflicting advice, sucking through teeth, extortionate estimates and a lot of googling. We finally were recommended a trustworthy builder who gave sound advice and did a great, and fairly reasonably priced, job that is now guaranteed for the next 30 years.

P1020941

Damp course replaced and rotten skirting removed

However, the stench when we came home one night was unbearable – like sulphur – so we called him to ask what it was. “That’s your damp coming out the walls” was the reply. Nice. Turned out our skirting was also rotten and full of weevils.

And finally in the ‘big list’ was getting the roofing/chimney/guttering sorted. Usefully, our builder’s brother-in-law is a roofer. Amazing how quickly you can build up a network of tradesmen!

We’ve been a bit grumpy about all this work as you don’t really see the benefits – if anything you just make the house look even worse. But hey, they’re all (expensive) essentials. The only thing that could seriously catch us out now is the electrics so we have a full electrical inspection booked.

Whilst all this work was ongoing we  poured over paint charts….keeping the dream alive whilst the vision was hazy.

Ah, Farrow and Ball we love you so

Ah, Farrow and Ball we love you so

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